the dogs are taken to nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, etc., to visit with the patients/residents. most places have policies about therapy dogs- having to have obedience training, a therapy dog course, be checked out and ok'd to be a therapy dog. it really is a wonderful program. it's healthy and therapeutic for the people and the dogs. dogs have to be friendly and non-aggressive and under the control of the handler. where i work one person used to bring in her rottweiler for pet therapy till the place made a policy that certain breeds couldn't be therapy dogs there.
I have a therapy dog, it is very rewarding going to the nursing homes and assissted living, we have not been able to get into a hospital yet.. They love to see the pets, and touch.. Its amazing that alot of them remember her name each time we visit. Some of these patients are very sick, and for them to remember a pets name is great. Brings so much happiness to them, cus in a lot of cases, they have no one to come visit. My little girl had to pass the Canine Good Citizen test and then the Therapy Dog International Test. I think I was more nervous then her. They come by the pets with wheelchairs, walkers, food carts, etc. trying to get them use to the sounds that they would be coming in contact with. She was afraid at first, but got use to it all very quickly, even loves the elavators now. Its really alot of fun for both pet and handler. She and I usually go by ourselves, not 10 dogs all at once on a floor. You can spend more time with each person and they can get to know you both and look forward to the next visit. Usually go 3 times a week, but has dropped over the winter, and will pick up again when it gets a bit warmer. Our group name is Caring Paws. Really nice.
I was watching the dog show the other day (can't remember if it was the Eukanuba or the Westminster...probably Eukanuba) and they had an interview with a fellow who uses his dog as a therapy dog in schools. He sits with children one at a time and they read to him and the dog. Kids who have a lot of trouble reading out loud in the classroom feel much safer and more comfortable in the presence of a big cuddly dog. They get the practice they need and a big boost in confidence. I am a teacher by trade and think this is awesome! We are working on bringing a Golden into our family and I would love to start something like that in our local school system! My friend has a St. Bernard from a rescue and she is working on his Therapy licensing. They have to do a lot to become certified. Way to go therapy dogs!!!
We signed up our boxer for obedience school, she starts March 15. My husband would like to progress her so she can get her CGC. I wanted to do that with my rottweiler also but at the time I was unable to do so.
Cody and I are practicing for the CGC right now, hoping to get to test soon but not sure of date. I would like to go on to the therapy aspect as well, can anyone tell how to go about this, who do I need to contact to get the extra training and testing? Thanks for any advice.